One goal that I had as a teacher when teaching kids, was to instill a lifelong love of learning. If we are smart, we will never stop learning until we die. A life filled with a lack of curiosity and lack of interest in learning can be a very boring life. I’m going to list some ways that you can help to instill the importance of learning in your kids.
Model Life-Long Learning Enthusiasm
Lecturing your child about how they need to understand the importance of learning will most likely not be as effective as watching a parent model their own love of learning. You can’t simply teach kids to want to learn more. Let them see your enthusiasm for learning. A positive attitude and excitement for learning is catchy. Have you ever witnessed someone get very excited about something that you may have had no previous interest in? I know I have and it inspired me to learn more in that area and to pursue my own interests more too. Be a good model. It will rub off on your child.
Go on Field Trips
Teaching kids can be more effective when you let them experience things first hand. For example, going to see animals at the zoo will have a better impact than just reading about them or watching a movie about animals. Confucius once wisely said, “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.” Get your children into doing more than hearing and seeing. A bonus of doing things is that when you do them together, you may just make some great family memories in the process.
Expose Them to New Experiences
You just never know what your kids will want to do when they grow up. You may have a future astronaut, doctor, zoologist, or musician in the family. By exposing your kids to many experiences, you get to not only teach your kids but show them what opportunities may be awaiting them in the world. What one child may find boring, another may find fascinating. Try to expose your kids to a wide range of subjects and experiences. Meet new people who may expose you both to careers and life opportunities that neither you nor your child has ever heard of.
A whole new world awaits the child that has learned to read. On average, in the public school system, up to fourth grade, a lot of emphasis is placed on teaching kids to read. Once kids know how to read, they can read to learn. After 4th grade, material switches to be heavily reading based. This is why many kids start lagging and having problems after 4th-grade if they have not learned to read. Educators often call it the 4th-grade slump.
Read to your kids and encourage them to read. Let them see you reading. Books and reading can open up a whole new world to a child. They can explore the bottom depths of an ocean or fly through the solar system all within the pages of a book. Reading can help to instill a lifelong love of learning in your child. Once your child learns to read, they can read to learn about anything that their heart desires.
Facilitate The Environment
You can’t make a child want to learn when teaching kids. But you can facilitate an environment conducive to learning. Hang up posters, have an aquarium, grow plants, and basically do the opposite of having your child live in box. Spend time exploring outdoors. In short, facilitate an environment that promotes learning.
Realize That All Children Learn in Different Ways
Each child has different gifts that are unique to them. You may have heard the quote, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Allow kids to learn at different rates and in their own ways. Appreciate and recognize their individual gifts. I believe when we do that, we are instilling a lifelong love of learning and not simply teaching kids.
Go With Your Child’s Interests
I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t have an interest in something. When you can capture that interest and run with it, I guarantee that learning will follow. If you have a child that is into automobiles, then, by all means, have them visit an auto repair shop. Allow them to build a boxcar or see if a mechanic might just mentor your child for an hour a week. That area of interest may be the vehicle needed to teach your child laws of physics.
There are many ways to help instill the importance of learning in a child. I’ve given some ways here. Get out and do things with your kids. Model enthusiasm for learning. Go on field trips. Expose them to new experiences. Read and read often with them. Go to the library with your child. Facilitate an environment that is conducive to promoting a love of learning. Realize that children learn in different ways. Go with your child’s interest and encourage them to keep learning more in the field that they are showing an interest in. Learning can be fun. Have fun learning together as often as you can.
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